(French for: "This is Africa") A common term used by the missionaries when they want to express "thats just the way it is because "THIS IS AFRICA"! ie..."the power went out..AGAIN... C'est Afrique...or sometimes denoted as TIA...This Is Africa!!)) Elder Halvorsen has been serving a full time mission since January of 2009 in the Ivory Coast, Abidjan West Africa Mission. This mission encompasses the countries of Benin, Togo and Ivory Coast. He loves it there and is enjoying his experiences serving the Lord and the people of West Africa!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Children can make the best teachers!!

Wow. That's one killer trip! That's sounds like it was a lot of fun! I think the pro-biotics were good, but don't send them again. I think they worked too well and I started getting fat. I haven't gotten the package. Mother's day is a sunday, so if you call at 8 our time, we'll be able to talk and then I can go right to sleep after. You can shoot me a quick call anytime in the week to test it. Ya my health is great. There's no problem. Your guy's vacation sounds like it was a blast! This week will be filled with crazy events to come too! Jon will be home this week... It's my nine months left mark this wednesday! That's the 28th right? And then next week I get a call and then my birthday and then a baptism! May is gonna fly by.

Well for this week there wasn't anything really that I noted. We had one baptism. It was the only baptism for us for the month. We'll do well in May. It's getting hotter. Even Elder Kakou says it's really hot in this country. He sweats more than me. Lol! I'm playing the piano for the Primary. (One finger! Oh ya.) They're singing God So Loved the World that He Sent His Only Forgotten Son. (I forgot the title). This week went by really fast...

For the song there is this little girl that is doing a solo and she kept messing up. She came around the chalkboard (because I was behind it on the piano) and she asked me, "Elder Halvorsen, can you help me with this part?" I said Sure! So I sung with her and she was so happy after! But it wasn't till later that I came to this conclusion. Jesus asked us to be more like unto Children. When we think of that we think normally that we need to be more caring, cheerful and loving. What really sturck me is that children still need help and they're not afraid to ask for this help and they're SO thankful after! I realized that we need to always ask for help from our Heavenly Father and also to ask those that love us. Not only need we ask, but to be honestly thankful for what they have helped us do. Just a little something that I learned through this little girl, Victoire.

Well that's really it. Sorry! It went by just so fast! I love you all!

Elder Halvorsen

Monday, April 19, 2010

Get your frog legs here!!

I read Dad's and Mom's email. It only LOOKS like I'm getting skinny in my face. I think it's just the sun cause I have a little gut that I just can't get rid of and it's driving me nuts.

Health is great. About those Bio bead thingies... Yeah... I finished those a week ago. I've been taking one a day since January. They're finished. Lol! Elder Leavitt I believe got a blessing. I think he's got a replaced part in his knee or an artificial one and when he was knocked to the ground it messed it up a little. He caught malaria but that was already taken care of.

Elder and Sister Herr? I didn't know their names. I heard that they'll be here in May. Wow my Birthday is close. BIZARRE! I hope your trip was good too! I think I'm gonna stick to the cold vacations for a couple years. I've had enough sun... : ) That's cool that Blake and Kameron will be taking off about the same time. He's almost twenty! I wish he would've done that sooner. I wanna see the kid again. Dang it. Oh well. C'est la vie.

Well there's just a couple things tonight. First off a shocker to me too. So I told you about the squirrel and the snails. The squirrel was good but I guess the Ivoiriens told me that it wasn't a good snail and I'd have to agree. It tasted just like dirt. I liked the texture though. Now the surprise! Apparently they bought FROG LEGS behind my back. It's the body without the head and front legs. Another Surprise. I'M ADDICTED TO FROG LEGS! They seriously are so good! The deer was really good too. I'll have to buy all this weird stuff for you guys and have you try it out. (yipee...)

We went to visit a woman that wants to get baptized. She wanted us to meet her Husband cause she can't get baptized if she's not married. So we went over and she invited him out. We started talking and the way he was talking French I noticed that he was from Benin. So we talked a little bit about the church and asked if he had any questions. He told us no but that he was from the church N'kanka. I have never ever heard of a church like that and I've never seen a sign saying that name... So he kept talking about himself and how he talks to Moses. Then he said that he communicates with the Chinese and Japanese through his spirit and that God speaks to him and what God says he will do, happens.... You meet all kinds of people on the mission...

And then again this last Sunday. They just started to pass the sacrament. There was this man wearing a black shirt with jeans, a big backpack and holding a bowl of beans I think... He came in and started chanting some weird thing... I told Bro. Ayih that he's got to get him out. He's got problems. He said no. he'll leave. So the guy starts walking toward us and he comes to this little plant that is in the courtyard. He starts hitting it and chanting louder. Then he went from plant to plant hitting it and chanting. So I told Ayih again, You gotta get him out. So He takes him by the hand and took him outside. Ayih came back in the the guy followed. So I got up and said My friend! Let's talk outside real quick. So I gave him 250 francs (50 cents) and told him to go buy something to eat down the road. He told me that he was Buddhist. I said I believe you. And he said ya! My sister is stronger than me! She's a powerful buddhist! He didn't hear anything I said. I just said No I believe you! So You take that money and go that way okay? And he just started busting up laughing and said okay. And off he went. Just a lot of interesting things and interesting people...

Well I gotta go. It's really hot in this cyber. I love you all very much!

Elder Halvorsen

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

...so I thought I was saving the lizard...

Health is great. Had a fun little experience with Doxy again. I didn't have my normal egg and sardine sandwich in the morning yesterday. I had a type of arabic top ramen. Well that wasn't enough solid food and I took my doxy. Almost threw up like I did the first day in Côte D'Ivoire. That was fun...

Can't believe Blake is already doing the papers and all that! He studied Spanish didn't he? And Jon will be home in like two weeks... That's just nuts. This month we might only have one baptism... Next month should be great! I can't believe that next month I'll be talking to you guys again too! Wow! The mission passes fast. And Dad! That motorcycle is so sweet! That looks like it would be so fun! And your trip sounded like a blast. That rock was really interesting and I showed Kakou the plates. All he said was L'Eglise est vraie." The church is true. Lol!

You've been keeping really busy and having loads of fun! The things you shared about your mission really interested me also. Where you a DL, ZL or Assistant? Where did you work? How was the work? Did you teach every day? Loads of questions and not enough time to ask on this side of the World. The Utah plan sounds cool. I was kind of hoping to spend a little time with Guillory in Washington and see the sights, but heck, we can do the same thing in Utah. Then I get a job right off the bat and start working to help pay for school in the Fall and... Uh.... I can start looking for a wife... Lol! That's just weird to say... Guillory wants to hit up Utah too for school so I think that what you think is best, then do it. I know you guys will make the right choice.

Well I just have really two stories this week. One's a service story gone wrong and the other is once again, Food.

We had a tiny little lizard run into the house. He was getting a lot of dust on his feet so he couldn't really run. (There is TOO much dust and dirt here...) So I pinned him in the corner, and got him. I picked him up by his tail and I went to go take him outside.

Now. You know the story about the boy who helped the butterfly out of his cocoon and he couldn't fly cause the butterfly didn't get out himself? Ya. Same thing. A couple seconds later I go back outside and see the tail of the little lizard hanging out of the mouth of a big lizard. I tried to chase the big one so that he'd drop the little one but he didn't. SO Elder Kakou gave a talk last sunday and he talked about service. He told the story of the butterfly and then MY story! The moral of the story was, when we serve, we have to serve with intelligence. Just after he said the story, half the branch turns around and just looks right at me and laughs. I turned so red... Lol! But it was really a great talk

And the food. You'll never guess what we bought today! So here I was thinking we were going to go back and buy the Water rat thingy. They call it Agouti. Type in Agouti into Google. Maybe it'll show a picture. Anyways, we get to the lady that sold it to us the last time and the price had almost doubled. We said no... But there was a leg of something there. Elder Dea said "What's that?" She said "It's a deer leg." This leg was the size of a dog. Apparently they don't get big here.

Then Dea took that and saw she sold... BABABABA! Snails. We bought escargo. Ten of them. I will take pictures and I will try it. It looks disgusting but they say it's good. The way the lady de-shelled it too was gross. She stuck a stick into and and turned the shell and SLOP out comes the snail with this gooey liquid.

BUT IT DOESN'T END THERE FOLKS! Elder Dea saw yet again another thing that caught his eye! It looked like a really small Agouti. He once again asked what it was. I didn't want to hear the response to this one, and yes we bought it and are going to eat it, but the lady announced that it was most definitely....... a Squirrel. Yes we bought a roasted squirrel. I think they're trying to kill me. I'm not sure yet. I'll let you know how it tastes though.

Well that's about it for this week. It went by really fast. I'm still with Kakou. Ou relationship has gotten so good! We've learned to let the stupid little problems fall to the side and just enjoy each other for who we are. We've laughed a ton, told stories of our lives and really clicked! He's become one of my favorite comapnions honestly. We both watch out for each other and look after one another. The mission really teaches you a lot. All we can do is thank God that he revealed His Love and Gospel to us through a boy of 14 years.

I love you all!

Elder Halvorsen

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter and rat

Health is great. I'm a little burned, but that's not new. I'm glad that you liked my email. It's crazy everything that you see change in you after a mission. I really have been strengthened through all the things I have seen. I'm super stoked for Blake to get going also! That's so exciting! I remember when I was doing the same thing! It doesn't seem that long ago. I didn't celebrate Easter... Lol! They drink and throw HUGE parties here for Easter. It's ridiculous. I can't believe how little time rests too.

Pres. Dieudonné really is an incredible man. He's so wonderful. Seeing his children there with him too was hard... I don't want to go through that at a young age like that... One of their daughters has only 14 years... That's gotta be so hard. I still haven't seen the conference... We'll probably get it in a couple weeks... Lol! So Literally I have two that are left. I think I remember Don... I think... I want to be with Dad on that trip. Lol! That sounds like a lot of fun. Don't worry too much about the cards for Kakou. If you guys have the way to do it, but it's not an urgence.

Well I'll fill you guys in on this VERY interesting food filled week.

First two crazy things. We just baptized one guy called Gaëtan. He's an interesting guy. He had never been with us teaching before but we decided to take him with us. He bore an AMAZING testimony. He said that it was weird. He was thinking about not coming to church again (being before his baptism and the day before Sunday) and we just decided to pass his house. He said that what we said really touched him and it was just the perfect timing. So he came to church and took the sacrament. He said it was weird cause he had an overwhelming experience of how the atonement of the Christ has blessed his life. He said he looked at his Dad each Sunday who was always ready to go by eight and he never understood why he went to church every week. Now he understood. It was just great.

One problem. The old man, Paul, that we baptized was removed from his house. We already found a spot to sleep and maybe a job, but he had ALL his stuff in front of the church and when we told him he couldn't sleep there he just said, no big deal. I'll guard my stuff for tonight and deal with it in the morning. He's a trooper. And at 62 years old. He's great.

Some little fun facts. First, every night when we're walking on the sidewalk, there's blocks with little holes in them. At night there are TONS of coakroaches that crawl around them. I'm always scared to walk on them cause I don't want one to crawl up my leg. Also They like to crawl up our shower drain pipe...

There was a guy welding last week and he was stading on a chair. Next thing we saw was that his chair was on fir. We thought maybe he's using the fire to weld... At that instant he looks down and screamed and jumped off. Lol! It was pretty funny.

there's also these ladies that walk around all day and sell stuff. They sell food and sandwiches and the like. They carry these big baskets on their heads. But there's one thing they do that is kind of annoying. They SCREAM what they're selling in Evé. I'll have to imitate it for you guys at home. Wow. It's ridiculous how loud they can scream too. Lol

And here's the food stories. These are ALWAYS fun. So Africans do not like chinese food. I FINALLY got them all to eat noodles with grilled shrimp in rice paper. Two liked it kinda... Kakou didn't. BUT I got pictures of them all eating it. BWAHAHAHA! And this is what they made me eat. First we had a delicious something that I refused to eat and gave mine to Kakou. Pig Hoof. Apparently it's edible. The second thing was this animal that they call Agouti. I don't think that's a french name... To me it looked like some type of Gopher... That actually tasted good. They said it's the biggest scurvenger? (Is that a word?) scrap feeder, like a rat or mouse. It tasted pretty good actually. Kakou ate it's head.

Well that's all for me this week. I love you all! missed Dad this week! Hope he gets home safe!

Elder Halvorsen